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Vince McMahon Committed To CM Punk As Champion…Or So He Says

CM Punk WWE championFans have been celebrating CM Punk’s WWE championship win at Survivor Series all week. Yet a quick look back at Punk’s past reigns is cause for caution. However, a new report suggests that Punk may finally get the chance to shine that most are hoping to see.

CM Punk has been on a roller coaster ride for the last few years in the WWE. One minute he is the toast of the town and the next minute well…he’s toast. That is why Punk’s recent win over Alberto Del Rio came with caution.

The first question that came to mind is whether this is a new era of Punk or will this end up in the usual frustration Punk fans are accustomed to seeing after their straight edged star wins WWE gold? According to the latest issue of the Wrestling Observer, Punk fans may get the holiday wish that they have been asking for.

Dave Meltzer reports in the latest issue of the Wrestling Observer newsletter that Vince McMahon is truly committed to CM Punk as WWE champion.

Right now Vince McMahon has made the commitment to Punk as champion. They are back in the mindset of trying to strengthen the belt by not changing it every month (a strategy that often changes four weeks later when there is a PPV and Raw rating to jump). Punk is planned to be champion past Royal Rumble.”

That is certainly a change in attitude when it comes to CM Punk. Punk is now on his fifth world championship reign in the last three and a half years. After four world title reigns in three and a half years, you would expect Punk to have been an elite level for at least two years right? Nope, whether it is short sighted booking or a lack of faith, most of Punk’s reigns have ended up disappointing. So excuse me if I am a bit skeptical that this one will be different.

If there was ever a time where Punk would become “the man” after winning the WWE championship it was back in July at Money in the Bank 2011. Now you can debate how over Punk really was by looking at the ratings and buyrates, but nobody could deny that he had all of the momentum in the world to reach that ultra elite spot. All he needed was commitment and if you call 28 days commitment, well you probably should apply for a job in WWE Creative.

Fortunately for the WWE and Punk, Money in the Bank is still in the minds of the WWE Universe. Re-committing to Punk a year later would be too little too late. Re-committing to Punk a few months later could be too little too late, but it certainly has a much better shot. But will Punk truly be set up to succeed? Let’s take a look at a few factors which tell me that this will be tougher now than it would have been four months ago or maybe even ever.

John Cena. Yes the name John Cena strikes fear into every CM Punk fan and it should. As long as Cena is around on RAW, he will always be the focus of the show. The WWE champion and the belt will take a backseat to Cena every week. Why do you think Punk was much more successful as a champion on SmackDown than RAW? RAW writers and Vinnie Mac will never let anyone outshine Cena on the brand, thus Punk will always look second rate to the real star of RAW.

Poor timing. Winning the championship in July was the perfect time to set up a long reign. Punk could have held the belt six months or maybe even longer, thus giving him the credibility he needs as champion. To casual fans, he is already seen as a fluke with his previous 28 day reign. With WrestleMania 28 around the corner, the timing here couldn’t be worse. All indicators are that The Rock vs. John Cena will be a WWE championship match or at least that is what’s rumored. If that happens, Punk would have to drop the belt to a heel, and then see the belt float to Cena. Now if The Rock wins the belt and drops it back to Punk, well that could be something else. There are a lot of questions here and while the WWE could change plans at any time, Punk supporters will be looking over their shoulders until he walks into Miami with the belt on. Oh, and with Triple H somewhat back in the mix Punk will move down to three. This is not a good situation for anyone not named Cena or Triple H.

No top heels. The biggest problem may be the lack of depth at the top heel spot, or more specifically no top heel. Alberto Del Rio has been beaten so much in the last few weeks that even as former champion, nobody cares. The Miz would be a logical choice, however has been beaten even worse in recent weeks, including getting squashed at the Survivor Series. Additionally, Punk vs. Miz did terrible ratings on RAW a few weeks back, even though their match was pretty darn good. Dolph Ziggler is an ideal choice to promote, but here we go again. Another guy that has been beaten often who suddenly gets promoted to the main-event that nobody believes can win the title. When will they ever learn? I think Punk would have been better off going to SmackDown as champion and feuding with guys like Mark Henry, Cody Rhodes, Wade Barrett, and maybe even Randy Orton. Plus, do you think Cena or Punk will get the top heel first? Cena will beat them and then fans are expected to believe that this beaten heel will defeat Punk? Again, this could be the biggest issue facing Punk down the stretch.

He is his own worst enemy. Punk did the rounds last week promoting WWE 12 and was on the warpath against The Rock. I get it, as he is probably doing whatever he can to build up interest in a Punk vs. Rock match. Unfortunately nobody has clued The Rock in and without him biting back, Punk is coming across like a jealous little prima donna. It is easy to bash John Cena and capitalize on a polarizing WWE Universe. However, those same fans he capitalized on are in the middle of a love affair with The Rock. It could get to the point where this results in some kind of fan backlash against Punk. His hardcore fans will take him over The Rock any day, but those numbers didn’t materialize to a whole heck of a lot in the summer. You would think he learned a lesson in the Triple H feud where he practically turned himself heel to half the fans he won over during the summer.

Vince McMahon. Have you tried to following WWE booking over the last few months? Vince and the creative team change their minds by the second. One or two bad weeks of ratings or low buyrates is the death knell to someone’s push. For television purposes, this is the best time of the year for Punk to have the belt. That may not be the case with pay per view buys thanks to holiday budgets (and weak undercards). Vince may be saying he is committed to Punk now, but he changes his mind like the wind as of late. I don’t think anyone can take what Vince McMahon says today at face value.

Could it work? Absolutely, Punk already has a nice base to build off of. Unfortunately at the end of the day it all comes down to Vince McMahon’s pencil and a great supporting cast. Needless to say, Punk has a lot of work cut out for him over the next few months. For Punk and his fans, I just hope he gets the real chance to do it.

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Eric G.

Eric is the owner and editor-in-chief of the Camel Clutch Blog. Eric has worked in the pro wrestling industry since 1995 as a ring announcer in ECW and a commentator/host on television, PPV, and home video. Eric also hosted Pro Wrestling Radio on terrestrial radio from 1998-2009. Check out some of Eric's work on his IMDB bio and Wikipedia. Eric has an MBA from Temple University's Fox School of Business.

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